Author Archives: sarahworth

  • The Wood Project

    A DIY guide to finishing a live edge timber slab

    So, you’ve purchased a beautiful raw timber slab, but need help to ‘finish’ it?

    We’ve put together some how-to tips to help DIYers create beautiful timber effects at home.

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    How to square end your live edge slab

    At The Wood Project we kiln dry our slabs and then supply all of our slabs dressed and flattened to 60 grit through our industrial sander – this means a lot of the hard work has been done for you already.

    If you require one live edge and one natural edge for benches, shelves or vanities, you need to measure your live edge slab correctly to achieve only one natural edge and one straight edge. Mark out where you wish to cut, then use a circular saw to cut the edge. 

    If you are wanting to keep both live edges, there is a method in which you are able to square end your slab, it requires you marking the centre point at both ends of the slab, running a straight edge to each mark, pencil this line in and using square edge you are able to square off the ends, our video shows this in detail. 

    How to relief cut your live edge slab

    If you have a wide slab approximately 600mm wide and above, you will get a lot of tension in the timber, especially with Aussie hardwoods, so its best to relieve the tension which will help with stablising the timber ensuring minimal to no movement or cupping. So what we do is relief cut the underside of the timber slab. 

    This involves running a saw cut every 50mm increment along the length of the slab, starting 80mm in from the end of your slab and finishing 80mm from the far end (also stay 80mm out from the edges). The cut will go approximately half way through the thickness of the slab ie: 36mm slab, set your blade depth to 17 – 18mm.

    How to stabilise your live edge timber slab 

    What if your slab has end splitting? A lot of slabs do, and we will explain how to stabilse these splits. 

    Using a 3-4mm drill bit, drill a hole at the end of the split, this will stop if splitting further. Grab a countersink bit, and counter sink your screws diagonally into the timber starting from the narrow end of the split work your way down, alternating sides of the split until you have reached the end. Your slab is now stabilized and you are ready to fill, sand and fine sand your slab! 

    How to fill, sand & fine sand your live edge slab

    After you’ve cut your slab to the correct dimensions, it’s time to prep it ready for coating. 

    Start sanding with orbital sander. At The Wood Project we use Festool sanders, but there are cheaper orbital sanders on the market that will do the job as well.

    Using 60grit sandpaper, select the “grind” option on your orbital sander, which is used for coarse sanding. Tip: Take your time and make sure to get all the sanding lines out from the drum sander.

     Once you are satisfied that you have sanded the entire slab well, take the sander off “Grind” function and continue sanding with 60grit sandpaper — again take your time and sand the entire slab well.

     After you’ve sanded the top of the slab, repeat the process on the bottom of the slab.

     What to do about imperfections

    Its important to scrape out and clear all the surface checks and cracks on the slab, and any imperfections or splitting prior to filling.

    Filling the slab 

    We use Repco Body Filler, a car body filler, mixed with Black Oxide Colour to fill our timber slabs.  We find body filler works really well with timber. It’s very easy to use, is cost effective and perfect for slabs with small imperfections; and it holds the black oxide colour well. We use resin for large voids, however that’s a completely different process that requires its own blog! 

    Once you have added the hardener to your bog, it’s important that you are ready to work quickly, as you only have about 5 minutes before it ‘goes off’. Fill all your voids, and wait 45 minutes for the fill to harden and dry.

     How to finish working on your timber slab

     Once the ‘bog’ has hardened, it’s time to sand the slab back again. Use the same 60grit sandpaper you used previously, but adjust the sander setting to ‘no grind’. 

    How to spot fill your timber slab

    Look over the timber slab and identify any voids or cracks and watch for areas that are a little low that still require more filling this is called spot filling.

    You might notice at this stage that the bog looks a little blue/grey in colour, don’t worry about this, once the slab is coated the bog will come up black. 

    Preparing your live edge 

    It’s important to remove any bark you see. Bark left on the edge will naturally want to come off and all the beautiful features of natural timber live under the bark. Plus, you’ll achieve a smooth to touch natural edge.

    For natural (live) edges use 60 grit sandpaper and be sure that your sander is not set on “grind”. You want to keep it at fine sanding, and be careful not to go overboard or you’ll sand all the features out of the edge — it’s a purely personal choice of how you want your live edge to look.

    Completing your slab for coating

    Once we have a perfectly flat and even surface, including live edges and ends, we can change to a 120grit sanding disk to finish the timber off. Arist the edges to take the sharp edges off as a final step and you are now ready to coat. 

     Coating your timber

    When coating a timber slab, you can choose a variety of finishes. We love using Livos’ Clear, a sustainable, plant-based oil, or Evolution Matte Hardwax Oil.  We stock both products and are happy to go through the application process with you over the phone, or if you visit us at the workshop.

  • Recycled Timber Slabs Lined Up

    How much does a timber slab cost?

    At The Wood Project all of our timber slabs are from salvaged logs. Put simply, we Recycle Your Tree. As a result we have a huge variety of species available and due to the nature of our timber (ie: not being from plantation log) it is rich in character and grain feature, unlike anything you can buy commercially. 

    When pricing a slab, there are a few things you need to take into consideration, we use a cubic metre rate as a starting point for our pricing, however each slab is priced individually on its own merit with the below factors taken into consideration:

    Slabbing a log: 

    When milling a log you obviously try and yield as much from the log as possible, the 2 slabs either side of the heart slabs are normally the best slabs out of the log and sometimes they are the only slabs that are worth anything  – you can use the other slabs of course, however they will require a fair amount of additional work commonly the heart slabs are split right through the middle and they will need to be buzzed and rejoined etc  the end product is still amazing however in this day and age most people want their completed piece to be made out of one slab and one slab only – hence these large slabs can fetch a pretty penny. And rightly so. 

    Drying a Timber Slab:

    Another factor associated with the pricing of our slabs is that they are kiln dried. Kiln dried slabs are the best for furniture making as they are as stable as you can get – in terms of timber – remembering it is organic matter and it will always contain some moisture. We kiln dry our timber down to 10% moisture content, this is the optimum moisture content in Melbourne, you can not get a slab at this moisture content without a kiln. This normally takes approximately 3 weeks in the kiln – after air-drying for 12-18 months prior. 

    Remember when a slab is first milled it is “green” that is, its full of water, it needs to dry for at least 2 years (that’s based on 55mm thick slab) before you can even consider doing anything with it. 

    If you ever come across a “cheap” slab you are most probably dealing with a slab that is not dry, buyer beware. Buy this slab and work on it at your own risk. A green slab will warp, crack and move beyond belief, once its done its drying you will be left with firewood at best – this mostly being due to it not being racked out and drying flat under controlled conditions. 

    Slabs need to be dried under controlled environments – racked out correctly, strapped down, on flat ground, sheltered from the elements  (you don’t want too much sun or rain), with just the right amount of ventilation. It’s not a quick, easy or guaranteed process. Lots can go wrong and often does. 

    Preparing a Slab 

    At TWP we sell all of our slabs “Dressed” (see this blog on our page for more info) we prefer to sell our slabs dressed, as this way you know exactly what you are getting in terms of thickness – once sanded and flattened through our industrial wide belt drum sander  all the “hard” work is done and you are ready to finish your slab. 

    Our slabs generally start at 55mm thick, once sanded and flattened you will then have your final thickness (normally around 48-50mm) so you will know exactly what you are working with. Also once dressed you can really get an idea of the beautiful grains and feature throughout the timber. 

    Our slabs have a story, we collect each & every log with our crane truck, we know why the tree is being removed and in most cases how long it has been there for.  You can buy the slab and build your own piece of furniture or ask us about our value ad service whereby you choose the slab and we make your custom furniture or fittings for you. 

    When we make you a piece of furniture we can tell you the history of your furniture, its an amazing tale you will be repeating with pride for years to come. And when you select one of our slabs, you should be proud, proud that you have selected to have something 100% Australian made and sustainable. 

    So there we have it, how much is a timber slab? 

    It’s a bit like asking, how long is a piece of string? As mentioned above, we do use a cubic metre rate based on the following; length x width x thickness x cubic metre rate. 

    For example: our dressed cypress slabs  have a cubic metre rate of $8500, if we were pricing a cypress slab of 3000mm x 400mm x 50mm the sum would be as follows: 3 x .04 x .005 x 8500 = $510 this would be an approximate price with the above considerations factored in.

    To get an idea, head to our slab page, we have a handful of our slabs here with pricing

  • How do you finish a timber slab?

    There’s something about the smell of timber, the earthy aroma somehow makes you feel good. The majority of people who visit our workshop mention the amazing smell before addressing what they actually came for.

    After letting yourself enjoy the scent, you’ll notice next our vast array of slabs on display; small large and everything in between, and species from messmate to cypress. Because we salvage all our timber from tree removals, we have a huge number of varieties to choose from. 

    The Wood Project can supply local timbers such as spotted gum and local sugar gum, salvaged from trees that are more than 100 years old. Imagine the unique character of the timber, it’s nothing like spotted gum flooring or plantation timber, which is almost never locally grown. If you’d like to know more about plantation timber, send us a message!

    In this post, we want to talk about live edge timber slabs and how you can work with them. The majority of our slabs are milled to 55mm thick. A slab at this thickness takes around two years to dry, however a slab milled at 75mm takes more like four to five years to dry properly, and cannot be kiln dried.

    Once a slab is ‘dressed’ it will typically end up around 50mm thick, which is perfect for working with. Occasionally we’ll get asked for thicker slabs – thank you, Pinterest – however thickness seems to be less of an issue once in our workshop – there are so many other choices! Often our customers visit with a particular idea in mind and leave with a completely different colour, size or shape of timber than what they had initially imagined.

    A visit to our Hastings workshop is more than likely to set your creativity in motion, you may even walk out with with a new hobby! 

    All of our slabs have natural (‘live’) edges still in tact. We love to create live edge furniture for its uniqueness, warmth and character. Of course, it’s an option to remove the live edges, but we will always leave them on when milling to give you the option.

    How do you flatten a live edge timber slab?

    Most of our slabs in the workshop are already ‘dressed’, that is, put through the industrial sander, and flattened to 60 grit. At this stage you can get an idea of the character and grain in the timber. All of our slabs are priced individually, and the dressing is included in the displayed price.

    Prior to being dressed, our slabs all look similar and quite grey. We can sell you a slab like this, straight out of the kiln, however it’s hard to see the unique detail in each.

    The process to flatten and sand by hand is time consuming and labour intensive – hours with a router and jig to take off the high points – or might be ideal for you if you’re already set up to do this. If you would like to flatten and sand your slab yourself you’ll save yourself around $100.

    Alternatively, a few passes through our industrial wide belt sander and your slab will be ready to be filled and fine sanded, ready for coating.

    Finishing live edge wood

    Now it’s time to sand that live edge! We use a Festool Orbital Sander, using approximately 60 grit (grind off) you gently sand the live edge. If there’s any bark still intact you’ll need to pull or gently chisel this off. Underneath this are amazing patterns, lump, bumps and out of this world character – and this is why we recommend keeping your live edge!

    Once you have a smooth finish – don’t sand away too much as you will sand away the colour and texture of the live edge – change your pad to a 120 grit and give it the once over. 

    Finishing live edge wood with bark 

    We have never left the bark on our slabs. This is because if your slab is dry, the bark will naturally want to come off. There is no need to keep it on as there’s plenty of character underneath.

    If the bark on your slab wants to stay on, be worried! It usually means the slab is ‘green’ – not dry. The best way to combat this is to buy kiln dried slabs. Our slabs are kiln dried to 10% moisture content, which is optimum for furniture making. You can’t get to this point by air-drying.

    We have a kiln right here at our workshop. We load it ourselves and monitor it twice a day to ensure the right outcome for each kiln load.

    If you work with a slab that is still ‘green’, it will soon be a problem. The moisture has to come out of timber, meaning the timber will move and warp, regardless of what you use to work with it – it will most likely end up as firewood.

    We dry our timber under extremely controlled conditions. There is an art to ensuring your timber dries flat and doesn’t warp. Sometimes even the best-laid plans see slabs of  timber well, not go to plan – we are dealing with nature here! 

    Even kiln dried it has 10% moisture – enough to wreak havoc with certain timber in our fluctuating Melbourne weather! If you want to know more about kiln dried slabs let us know!

    Options available to help finish live edge timber

    Finishing a live edge slab is really a matter of personal choice. You can add a black or brown bog to fill the cracks, use clear resin, you can leave it unfilled to enjoy the rustic feel (not recommended for bench tops for hygiene). We mostly finish with a matt 2 pac polyurethane which we outsource. Whatever you decide to do with your timber slab we can either advise you or simply do it for you!

    Some customers will buy a slab, dressed and take it home to work their own magic, and some customers will choose a slab and ask us to have it finished ready for installation. Think kitchen benches, vanities, laundry benches, table tops, coffee tables, hall tables, shelves, bar tops and desks. 

    Some customers will have us fill and fine sand for them to take home to do the top coat. Whatever your creative endeavour, we can definitely get you started or get the job done for you. 

    Similarly if you love the idea of purchasing a sustainable piece of furniture, we have pieces ready to go in our show room. We have so many timber slabs air drying and waiting for the kiln, 2020 is set to be our biggest year yet!

    Whatever your situation, feel free to drop in, smell our timber and leave with a slab, a table or an idea for your next project. 

  • Why you should choose a post and rail fence

    You don’t need a large rural property to enjoy the benefits of a post and rail fence. At The Wood Project we’re seeing more and more demand for this type of fencing for residential homes.

    Choosing post and rail fencing will bring rustic charm and character to your property, without costing you an arm and a leg. Post and rail is also one of the easiest fences to install with most of our customers DIY homeowners – you don’t need to be a fencer to enjoy this cost effective and aesthetically pleasing fence. 

    Traditionally post and rail fencing was used on farms or rural properties to keep horses, livestock and other large animals contained in addition to defining boundaries and separating production zones from one another. Today these fences are making a big impact on residential homes, not just acreage! 

    Practicality aside, it’s the aesthetic appeal of post and rail fencing that we love. This fence gives definition to space, while allowing unobstructed views – great for the rolling hills of rural properties but also great for suburbia when you don’t want to feel caged in.

    If you long for that laid-back, country feel, a post and rail fence can provide this while still presenting a smart and tidy option, be it beach shack, rustic farmhouse or Hamptons style you are channelling.

    Once installed there is next to no maintenance with all rails slotting snugly into the pre-mortised posts. We recommend 2.4m rail spans which not only look great but also ensure you will not get sagging rails down the track. The fence can be painted any colour to tie it back to your house or left raw for added character. Staining or painting your fence will significantly prolong the life of the timber and The Wood Project recommend Cutek CD 50.

    The Wood Project uses salvaged Australian cypress logs to create our posts and we mill to order. An environmentally friendly option that will add street appeal, value and rustic charm to your property.

    With 4 pricing options and two additional upgrade options, there’s a solution to suit any budget and style. For more information or to request a quote for your next fencing project send us an email or give us a call!

    • Note: Post spans are 2.4m
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  • Post and Rail Fencing - How much Does it Cost?

    How much does post and rail fencing cost?

    Post and rail fencing is a beautiful option for any style of landscape, and can be tailored to suit almost any budget. At The Wood Project, we salvage logs to create timber products for homes and businesses across the Mornington Peninsula and beyond. First impressions count. Whether you’re looking to sell your property, add value or want to create that head-turning first impression, post and rail fencing is an option worth considering.

    Our pre-morticed post and rail fencing kits are an easy and affordable option for any budget – so how much does it actually cost?

    The good news is you have options, depending on the desired look and purpose for your fence. Do you need two or three rails? After the chunky post look or something different. When you purchase with us, you have a few choices! 

    The 150×200 intermediate posts are our standard, or go for 200×200 and make a real statement. If you’re fencing a large area the 150×150 intermediate posts are a great option; very economical without compromising on appearance or quality.

    Below are our price points – they are based on 60m of straight fencing with one end post at either end.

    (Note the price excl. gst)

    It’s easy to get a quote for your own post and rail fencing kit. Fill in the form and you’re half way there!


    Here are a few common questions we get asked about post and rail fencing:

    How far apart should post and rail fencing be?

    Typically, we suggest 2.4m. This is not only aesthetically pleasing but also the optimum length to prevent rails from sagging over time.

    How high is a post & rail fence? 

    The height of your fence will differ depending on whether you opt for two or three rails. We generally supply our posts at 2 metres for 3 rail, this allows 650mm in ground and 1350mm out of ground, height of top rail 1200mm. Gate posts will need to be 2.4m, to allow extra in-ground depth. 

    For a 2 rail fence, we supply posts at 1.8 metres, this allows for the posts to be in ground 600mm and exposed above ground 1200mm, height of top rail 1050mm. Gate posts will need to be 2.2m. 

    We can customise posts to suit any height. 

    How deep should a fence post be dug into the ground?

    As a guide, we suggest 600mm in ground and 1m for gate posts – further info above. 

    Our tip: bitumen paint the in-ground section of the post, this will prevent the post rotting. Most importantly, be sure to paint 1 inch above ground level, this is the area water will commonly sit before draining into the ground, so make sure this area of the post is also protected against water rot. 

    How long do timber fences last? 

    There are many factors that will impact the life of your post and rail fencing; here’s what we can tell you about ours!

    Our post and rail fences are made from cypress macrocarpa, it is the most naturally durable softwood available, and is resistant to insect and borer attack in sawn form. It is rated class 3 in ground which means that a 50×50 stake will last 5-7 years, larger sections will last much longer (this is why we do not supply posts under 150 x 150 in size). 

    Remember the tip above, apply bitumen paint to all in-ground portions of the post and 1 inch out of the ground, most posts rot at ground level due to people not applying that extra inch! 

    Our tip: For extra durability we recommend finishing your fence with a product called Cutek CD50. Make sure all end grain (ends of rails after cutting) and tops of posts are coated. This not only looks great, but it is a great way to ensure the longevity of your feature fence. You can also add pigment to this paint; some of our customers have done this, the results are fantastic.


    A post and rail fence by The Wood Project, completed with CutekCD50 and a white tint.

    An example of post and rail fencing, see prices above

    A post and rail fence featuring by The Wood Project, completed with CutekCD50 and a black tint.

    Why don’t you use Queensland cypress? 

    Simple! We only use salvaged logs. Our post and rail fencing kits are 100% sustainable, we never source timber from forestry. We don’t need to ship Queensland cypress down to Melbourne when we have cypress macrocarpa being taken down and chipped daily.

    At The Wood Project we care deeply about our environment. We have our own crane truck and work with arborists throughout Melbourne – predominately on the Mornington Peninsula – to make sure we recycle as many logs as we can. 

    When you buy a post and rail fence kit from us you can have the peace of mind that you aren’t doing any damage to the environment. Your fence will be 100% sustainable. 

    Some of the cypress logs we salvage are milled from trees that are 100 years old, taken down from farms etc. Each fence has it’s own history, and never involves forestry logging. For the environmentally conscious, using our timber is a great option. 

    Do you do 4 rail fences? 

    We do! Fill out the post and rail form and put in your specific requirements, we mill to order.

    How long will it take to get my pre-mortised post and rail fence?

     Once you have accepted the quote, we issue you with a tax invoice and require a 50% deposit (all our bank details are on the invoice). Once we receive the deposit, your order is added to our mill sheet. We then anticipate it should be ready to be picked up from our yard (1947 Frankston-Flinders Rd Hastings) in 6-8 weeks. 

    *(based on 60m of straight fencing, excluding GST) 

    If you have any question please send us an email or give us a call!

    • Note: Post spans are 2.4m
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